The Brexit farce continues, with both sides pretending they’re negotiating a mutually beneficial settlement.
In fact, they resemble two people talking in a bugged room. They say something innocuous for the microphones, while conveying the real messages with scribbled notes, winks and nods.
The EU wants not an equitable deal but to stop Brexit, ideally de jure, but at a pinch de facto. Their aims are both pecuniary (they want our money) and punitive (they want to punish us).
Like the Soviets, who killed anyone refusing to share their view of a bright future, the EU has to stamp out apostasy pour encourager les autres.
They want to be in a position to teach all those Greeces and Italies a lesson: “See what happens when you want to leave? You pay a huge exit fee, while still obeying all our laws and keeping your borders wide open. You lose your vote and a lot of money without gaining anything in return.”
This is par for the course. Anybody who understands anything at all about the EU will know that this wicked contrivance is acting in character.
Like the Prussians using their Zollverein to bribe or bully other German principalities into a single German state, the EU has a clearly defined objective: a single European state. This end doesn’t just justify the means, but makes them irrelevant. Whatever works.
Yet the other party, the British government, doesn’t want a real exit either. By the British government I don’t necessarily mean just the cabinet or even Parliament. I use the term to describe our governing elite, which also includes some businessmen, but above all the media.
They form a uniform entity with interchangeable parts. Witness the ease with which our journalists become politicians (William Rees-Mogg, Nigel Lawson, Johnson, Gove,) and vice versa (Parris). This is reminiscent of the Soviet nomenklatura, with, say, a deputy minister of fisheries drifting on to become a magazine editor, then an ambassador, then chairman of the football association.
Unlike the Soviet nomenklatura, however, our politico-journalistic elite widely practises the kind of nepotism that’s more readily associated with hereditary monarchies.
Just think of the Kinnocks, the Benns, the Milibands, Harman/Dromey, Hames/Swindon, Balls/Cooper, the Gummers, the Hurds, the Rees-Moggs, the Dimblebies, Muir/Macintyre, Purves/Heiney, Wagner/Gilbert, Vine/Gove, Moran/Paphides, the Waughs, Mounts, Johnsons, Lawsons, Rifkinds and so on ad infinitum.
Since corporate loyalty within our elite isn’t enforced with bullets, it’s not wholly homogeneous. Jacob Rees-Mogg, for example, strikes me as a thoroughly decent sort. Yet there’s no need to kill men like him. It’s sufficient to marginalise them, using them to express token dissent to maintain an illusion of pluralism.
However, an illusion it is. The elite, spearheaded by the top two ministers May and Hammond, wants to undermine Brexit as much as Merkel and Juncker do, and just like them they’ll use underhanded methods to do so.
However, they lack even the power of their puny convictions: they won’t come out and say this is what they want. Instead they pretend to be complying with the will of the people and Parliament, while exchanging their winks and nudges with the EU.
Being career windbags, they release hot air into the atmosphere in the hope of creating a credible mirage. A mirage, however, is just that. It’s virtual, not actual, reality.
It’s virtual reality that there may be fine gradations of Brexit, from hard to soft and everything in between. In actual reality, there are only two possibilities: in or out.
Even though I oppose direct democracy by plebiscite on principle, the powers that be evidently don’t. So we had our plebiscite, the people had their say and then Parliament did as well. Once that happened, there’s really nothing to negotiate.
All HMG has to do is announce that we’re leaving, effective immediately. EU laws summarily become null and void within Her Majesty’s realm, and she regains her full sovereignty exercised through Parliament. Since the EU Charter to which we ill-advisedly signed up stipulates a two-years’ notice, we’re prepared to pay a sum equal to our net contributions over that period, and not a penny more. Thank you and good-bye.
That done, there will still remain some technicalities to sort out, although they’re nowhere near as complex as they’re portrayed. After all, we can simply revert to the pre-Maastricht arrangements.
Hence EU citizens will be welcome to visit Britain without a visa. If they wish to stay, the decision to admit them will be up to us and not to any supranational setups that should have no jurisdiction over our ancient constitution.
As to trade, Britain did rather well in that department for centuries before the EU, or indeed the Zollverein, was even a twinkle in any German eye. It never occurred to, say, Pitt or Disraeli that Britain would have to dissolve her sovereignty in order to trade with Europe.
A series of trade deals could be worked out, provided both sides proceed from good faith. Since we know that the EU won’t, they’ll try not to deal but to punish, on the assumption that they hold all the trumps.
Not quite. We have the odd ace up our sleeve too, such as the threat of turning Britain into an offshore haven. A year ago Manny Macron threatened that Brexit would turn Britain into a larger Jersey, to which my answer is a resounding yes, please.
We could lower income and corporate taxes, cut through red tape and create irresistible conditions for foreign investment. In fact, in one of her speeches Mrs May hinted at this possibility – it never occurred to the poor dear that such things ought to be done not in extremis but as a matter of course.
If the EU wants to start a trade war, we aren’t exactly defenceless. Alas, rather than communicating this point in no uncertain terms, our governing spivs collude with the EU to make Brexit disappear into the smokescreen of hot air they call negotiations.
There’s nothing to negotiate. The proposition is strictly binary: Britain is either sovereign or she isn’t. And the second possibility looks much more likely.